Winter basket classes are here! I am currently offering full weekend immersions in beginner willow basketry in intimate small group settings at a retreat on the beautiful West Fork of the Kickapoo River outside Viroqua, WI. Students spend the weekend weaving, drinking tea, and taking in the stunning river valley, all in a fun and supportive learning environment.
In the class, you will learn to weave a traditional stake and strand round-base basket using hundreds-of-years-old techniques from northern Europe. Each student will leave with a beautiful handmade basket and reference materials to support a continued practice at home.
Both courses will include an opportunity to meet at least one species of wild willow and learn to wild-tend and coppice for baskets alongside the beavers and deer beds. We will also cover information about growing and preparing materials to support continued study.
For those traveling in, there are a variety of options for on-site accommodations.
Details & Accommodations
All my winter basketry courses are taking place at Nature Nooks Retreat, which is a beautiful rural retreat and conservation project nestled in the rolling hills of the Kickapoo River valley between Viroqua and La Farge WI. There are a range of accommodations options on site depending on budget and needs, ranging from a private cabin to a bunk-house style bed in our classroom space. Local students can commute to and from class each day.
The classroom is a spacious and comfortable indoor gathering space that includes a full kitchen for preparing meals and beverages. Students bring all the food they will need for the weekend, and have the option of coordinating meals. There is a food co-op and other grocery stores in the town of Viroqua a short drive away. Coffee and homegrown herbal infusions are provided.
All are welcome and encouraged to spend plenty of time outdoors enjoying the many beautiful walking trails, river, and fantastic beauty of the property during the course of the weekend.
Cost for the full weekend course is $300 and includes all materials, tools, a finished basket, and educational materials to support continued learning. Sleeping accommodations are not included, and you can reach out to Anni for rate information and to book.
Friday 12:30 PM:
Arrival and check-in, class begins at 1. Students will take a field trip to a beaver coppice of wild willow, learn about growing and wild-tending native willows, sorting, grading, and material selection, and cut some sticks!
Friday 5 PM:
Saturday - Sunday Daily Schedule:
9 AM - 12 PM: Weaving Class
12 PM - 1 PM: Lunch
1 PM - 5 PM: Weaving Class
5 PM Sunday: Pack up and depart.
While we want our classes to be accessible and welcoming to all, weaving the baskets and learning about material preparation requires a degree of able-bodiedness that is sadly exclusive to some. Working with willow requires a surprising degree of physical strength, and while our classroom itself is wheelchair accessible, students will need to be able to walk on uneven ground for harvesting materials. Those who are able to attend should plan to take good care of their bodies and bring whatever supports - physical, herbal, medical, etc. - you need to keep yourself healthy and feeling good while partaking in prolonged strenuous activity. Also, if willow doesn't suit your physical needs as a basketry medium, try experimenting with reed, rattan, pine needles, and other more gentle basketmaking materials as an alternative.
Anni is queer/trans-affirming instructor who intentionally strives to make a space that is welcoming to all who wish to learn these crafts. We invite all students to agree to be kind and respectful to one another, to the indigenous land we gather upon, to the plants we work with, and generally cultivate an attitude of reverence as we enjoy a weekend of weaving and learning.
Words from Students
"This class is incredible. Wherever you are on your willow journey you will walk away with so many new skills / teachings all wrapped up into a new beautiful basket. It is so wonderful to be immersed in a craft with others for the duration of a weekend!"
"10/10 experience overall. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. It was a sweet group of people in a gorgeous space, and Anni is an excellent, thoughtful teacher. The learning and work were rigorous enough to be engaging and satisfying without being too much, and the atmosphere was always so pleasant and welcoming."
"I can't recommend a willow basket class with Anni enough - their dedication to both the quality and accessibility of their craft, their delightful teaching style, the cozy and curious learning environment they cultivate."
"Learning to weave a basket gave me a new outlook on life. It was powerful stuff, and I'm so grateful! Since I got home, my husband has been putting the basket over his head every 15 minutes. I think he is addicted to the smell. He says he wants willow extract, a willow codpiece, and a willow coffin 'to lie in while he's still alive'. Should I be concerned?"